My first child, a boy, was born in February 2003. It was an easy pregnancy, but the delivery was a little heartbreaking.
I was living with my in-laws at the time with my now ex-husband. We had been married 9 months by the time our baby was due.
It was mid-February, 2003, 6 days before my due date, when my water broke around 8:45am. I had just taken a shower, and I had made myself a cup of tea. It was a tea that my aunt had given me to help get labor moving along. It was a mix of St. John’s Wort and Black Cohosh. I would not have mixed the two, but I had less than enough of the St. John’s Wort teat to make a single cup of it.
I sat on the end of my bed, which was pretty low to the ground. I was relaxed, and I had only had 2 sips of my cup of tea when I felt a ‘pop’ in my stomach…kind of like feeling a balloon pop inside your stomach. It was a little painful, but nothing too bad. Although I thought it was nothing, I called my aunt anyways and told her about it. She goes “Well…did your water break?” to which I replied “I don’t think so…I don’t feel any fluid leaking…” Just then, as my husband was walking into the room to get ready for work, I felt another ‘pop’, a bit more painful than the first one, but still not especially painful. My aunt asked to speak to my husband, so I passed him the phone and proceeded to stand up. Next thing I knew, Niagara Falls was flowing between my legs! I instantly started vomiting and contracting back-to-back, which surprised me because I wasn’t having contractions before I stood up.
Time to go to the hospital. My husband assisted me in getting myself dressed. Poor man was so confused. I would say “Hurry up and put my sock on before another one hits!” only t tell him a few seconds later “STOP IT! I’m having a contraction!” I think that went on for a good half hour. Fortunately, being a first-time mother, my bag had been packed for weeks, so we didn’t have to worry about it. We got dressed, grabbed our bag, and off we went.
We arrived at the hospital at about 10:30am. I was in so much pain and I was still vomiting. My clothes were soaked from the amniotic fluid. I was feeling so horrible! It was so bad that I cried so much and I begged for the epidural before I even got into my delivery room! My uncle brought my aunt to the hospital so that she could coach me…just a side note here, never have a pregnant woman as your labor coach, especially one who had 5 kids naturally and is pushing for you to do the same. You might get threatened and you might not get what you want when you want it. My aunt was 5 months pregnant when I went into labor. She came in the room, and said “Shut up before I smack you!” HUH?! I don’t need the nasty threats right now; I need support and words of encouragement and help breathing through my contractions! I was very upset at that…quite frankly, I still am. My feelings were pretty hurt by that.
The nurses got me settled in with that oh-so-wonderful IV, after they first stripped me and got me into a hospital gown. It’s funny how you are so out of it sometimes when you are in labor. I was completely naked sitting on the hospital bed, my aunt in the room (and I would never want her to see me naked) along with the nurses and my husband (but it was nothing new to him, ha-ha!), and I was so out of it that I didn’t realize what was going on till I was in the middle of crying from pain and I happened to look down and saw myself. Funny part is that I didn’t care. I was in too much pain to care. I just kept crying and asking for that epidural!
FINALLY, at about 1pm, the nurse checked me and I found out I was 3cm dilated and my son was at -2 station. The anesthesiologist came in to hook up my epidural. I was in so much pain, and you know how they have to give you the whole rundown about the side effects and risks of the epidural? I just wanted that lady to shut up! I actually told her to at one point, she was frustrating me! And how could I possibly listen to her while I was focused on getting through my contractions?? Anyhoo, I told her to go away and told my husband to rub my stomach…what a mistake! He put one hand on me and I said “Aaaaaaahhh! Get off of me NOW!” The poor man looked so confused and didn’t know what to do. After that, I finished out my contraction, and the anesthesiologist finally finished and got on with the procedure. I had 2 or 3 contractions before she was done. Those were the longest contractions ever! Being curled up like that is absolutely no fun and extremely uncomfortable. But the relief was sweet. I was a whole new person within 10 minutes of getting the epidural.
Not very long after the epidural was in place, they started me on pitocin in hopes to get me to progress more. I did progress to 5cm by about 3 or 4pm. After that, I just stopped progressing. The whole time, they were upping my dose of pitocin every half hour, trying to get things moving. The baby would not budge from where he was. What was worse, his head was already turning into a cone shape…at -2 station! My doctor told me that if he didn’t move down, or if I didn’t progress anymore by 7:30, a c-section would be performed. I was a bit upset and a little heartbroken because I didn’t want a c-section. My mother had 8 c-sections, and I was determined to experience a vaginal birth. But it was just not going to happen this time, because not only was he not moving down and I had stopped progressing, but he had meconium in his fluid and his heart rate was dropping with every contraction by the 7:30 deadline. A c-section was the verdict.
I cried and cried and cried from the time my doctor gave me the news to the time my son was born. They prepped me around 8:15pm, and wheeled me to the OR. They gave me some other medication to numb me from the chest down. That was the weirdest feeling I have ever felt, because I was trying to cough, but I couldn’t. I wish you could hear how I was coughing, but since I was numb from the chest down it was just a puff of air coming up instead of a hearty, strong cough.
They got started on me as soon as I was prepped, and a few minutes later at 8:46pm, my son was pulled from my uterus. I got a little scared, because I didn’t hear him cried for what seemed like a few minutes. I didn’t know what was going on, and no one said a word to me, so I was clueless. Finally, after holding my breath for so long, I heard him let out a nice, hearty cry. I was later told that the cord was around his neck, and he had fluid still in his lungs and need antibiotics for 7 days. They let me hold him for about 5 minutes, which was the best and worst 5 minutes of my life. After my 5 minutes were up, they took him to the NICU, where he stayed for a day and a half.
I was allowed to visit him after a couple of hours. He was attached to all of these tubes and it just looked a lot worse than what it really was. He was breathing on his own, but they still wanted to give him oxygen. They told me he was a feisty little guy, they said he yanked his IV out of his arm and pushed the oxygen tent away from his face! He was angry at them for taking him away from his mommy! While he was in the NICU, I was a 10 minute walk away in antepartum. I was wheeled to him whenever I wanted to g to him to feed him and hold him. He was having an issue keeping his jaw closed to suck, so I had to hold his jaw up while he drank from a bottle. After 2 days of that, he got the hang of it. Then I got to nurse him for the first time once he was transferred to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where he stayed for 5 more days. It was an awesome experience.
He was in the hospital for 7 days, but I got discharged after 3 days. The day after he was born, I developed a headache. It wasn’t all that painful at first, but something told me that things weren’t right because the Tylenol the nurse gave me was not taking the pain away. I had the headache for 4 days. By the 4th day, it was so bad that it felt like my brain was literally boiling. I couldn’t stand up straight, and everyone around me had to whisper and the room had to stay dark. On my son’s 4th day in the hospital, which was the 4th day of my headache, the nurses came in at about 7am to do their daily rounds. Up until that point, I had my husband there to help me take care of the baby through the course of the headache. By the time the nurses came that morning, my husband had already left to go to work. They saw me leaning over the bed in pain. I was in so much pain by then I was crying. They had me taken back to the labor and delivery floor where they did some testing on me.
As soon as I got to LD&R triage, they told me they wanted to do a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. I called my husband on his cell phone to give him the update. I will tell you about that phone call in the next paragraph. They had a neurologist come in and do a test on me where I had to make all these different movements. Then, they had someone come in and do a spinal tap on me. After that, they sent me to the basement of the hospital for a CAT scan. I am assuming they didn’t notice anything on there. Once they were finished with that, they gave me a shot in my hip for the pain. That shot burned so much! But, the headache was gone within a few minutes. I was so thankful for that!
About that phone call: I basically told him what the doctor told me: I was getting a spinal tap to make sure I didn’t have meningitis, and they were having a neurologist come in ad do tests, and I was to have a CAT scan. We were both pretty young and dumb, so we didn’t really know what meningitis was exactly. He said he would check up on me in a little bit and returned to work. About 15 minutes later, I was lying in my bed, alone behind my curtain, when I saw some familiar Timberland boots walking around the curtain. I was thinking “That can’t be him; I just talked to him at work.” Sure enough, those boots get to the edge of the curtain, and he pulls the curtain open and comes through. I was shocked and surprised to see him!
See, what had happened was, when we were on the phone, it was so loud on his end (he was working in demolition at the time) that he was repeating everything I said to make sure he heard me correctly. His boss was nearby. He overheard my conversation. After my husband hung up with me, his boss approached him and asked who he was talking to. My husband proceeded to tell him about our conversation. He said his boss pretty much started hollering at him, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET OUT OF HERE, GO BE WITH YOUR WIFE!!!” and with that, his boss shoved him out of the door so fast that he almost couldn’t grab his coat! I was laughing so hard by the time that story was over. I was the most hilarious things I had heard, and it touched me in a weird kind of way. It showed that his boss was really compassionate and caring, I guess especially since his wife had a spinal tap some years before and was still suffering back pain from it. Plus, he thought I might have had meningitis, so he thought that my husband should be with me instead of at work.
Fortunately, the painful headache never returned, and all of my tests came back normal. I was discharged once again, at which point I returned to my son’s room in the hospital and didn’t leave for 3 more days, after which we went home. My baby boy finished his antibiotics, and was discharged 7 days after his birth.
He is now a little man, a very smart one. He is in kindergarten and I just look at him in shock sometimes. That’s my baby, and it seems like just yesterday that I gave birth to him, and he is in school being a little genius and making new friends. I love my Sox.
**Sox is a nickname. I chose not to put his real name on here…for overprotective-mother-safety purposes.